For the past week or two, it's pretty much been understood that Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon would have his one-year ban turned into a 10-game suspension. However, it wasn't "official" until the Friday afternoon. The NFLPA released the following statement on behalf of Gordon:
"I’m happy that the NFLPA and NFL worked hard to agree on a new Substances of Abuse policy. I’m very thankful to my union for fighting for a significant reduction in my suspension. I’m glad I can go to the facility during my suspension. I look forward to going to meetings, working out individually, and learning from my coaches and teammates. I can’t wait until game 11 to get back on the field!"
For some context, here are the games that Gordon will miss and which games he'll be back for:
|12||11/23/2014||Cleveland Browns||vs.||Atlanta Falcons
|13||11/30/2014||Cleveland Browns||vs.||Buffalo Bills
||vs.||Cleveland Browns||1:00 PM||CBS|
|15||12/14/2014||Cincinnati Bengals||vs.||Cleveland Browns||1:00 PM||CBS|
|16||12/21/2014||Cleveland Browns||vs.||Carolina Panthers
|17||12/28/2014||Cleveland Browns||vs.||Baltimore Ravens
If you are optimistic about the Browns' soft schedule after the bye week, then Gordon is coming back at the right time. Cleveland might be able to beat the likes of Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Oakland, Tampa Bay, and Houston without Gordon. Gordon's first game back is against the Falcons, a team that appears to be "back" this year as a top contender in the NFC. Gordon's return also includes two division games, the Colts, and the Panthers.
Gordon will now be permitted inside the Berea headquarters to work out and attend meetings. Basically, the only restriction will be that he can't actually take part in practice. Browns GM Ray Farmer released the following statement upon being informed of the news:
"We are aware of the new NFL policy related to the reduction of Josh Gordon's suspension to 10 games. We will continue to support and work with him under the NFL guidelines throughout this process. Our team's focus right now remains on preparing for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens."
The bye week will actually be the perfect time to re-integrate Gordon into the facility. Are you excited about the news becoming official, Browns fans? I had dreamed of being able to start off an article with the headline, "Vindicated!" if Gordon were to get off completely free, but this does feel like a form of vindication, nonetheless.